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Thursday, April 15, 2010
NCAA approves taunting rule for 2011

By staff

The NCAA's Playing Rules Oversight Panel has approved three changes for college football, and the one that's sure to garner the most debate is the taunting rule.

Beginning in 2011, if a player is penalized for taunting an opponent on his way to a touchdown that play will be nullified. Currently, that would be a deal-ball foul and assessed on the ensuing kickoff.

But the new rule will make it a live-ball foul, meaning if a player holds the ball out in a taunting manner as he's crossing the goal line, does some type of somersault heading into the end zone or high steps his way into the end zone, the touchdown will be called back and the penalty will be assessed from the spot of the foul.

I can already hear the outcry when the first one's called back in the SEC.

Critics of this rule say it's too subjective. For instance, do you throw the flag if the player is pumping his fist wildly to the crowd as he nears the goal line and an opposing player just happens to be nearby?

Get ready for some serious debate, and I don't want to be anywhere near the stadium the day a game-winning touchdown is taken away in the final minutes because a taunting flag was thrown.

Better yet, I don't want to be anywhere near the official that threw the flag.

One thing to remember is that excessive celebration penalties won't fall into this category. So if a player is called for dancing in the end zone with teammates, that by rule is still a dead-ball foul and will be assessed on the ensuing kickoff.

Even that one has come under fire, though. Just ask A.J. Green and the Georgia fans.